According to a survey published in the journal Gender and Society in April 2011, half of Americans think women should be legally required to take on their husband’s name after marriage. These results show that despite gains in gender equality, many people remain extremely traditional when it comes to relationships.

For many women, the decision to switch last names is a no-brainer, they do so willingly. But for others–especially women who have build a name for themselves in their careers–a name change may not be what they really want to do.

The tradition of changing a woman’s dates back centuries and typically signaled a woman’s lack of legal authority over her affairs. In the U.S., the tradition dates back to the 1800s. Back then, “U.S. common law abided by the doctrine of coverture. Under coverture, a married woman had no rights to her own property or to make contracts in her own name — and indeed, she had no right to her own name at all. Her husband took on all legal rights for the couple.”

Despite the unfairness of such laws, “coverture didn’t fully fade from the U.S. legal system until the 1960s and ‘70s; remnants included laws in some states forbidding women from taking out their own lines of credit.”

In spite of the history behind changing names, many women think it’s the best option for a family, especially when they have children. Many moms want to have the same last names as their children and feel that changing their names is the easiest way to show family unity.

In recent times, many women have been trying to bridge the gap between keeping their identities and joining with their husband by hyphenating their names, but some men see this as a rejection.

Whatever option a women chooses, one thing is clear: Changing one’s name is both personal and political and the debate on whether it’s necessary or not, wil continue to rage on.

Do you think women should be legally required to change their names after marriage? 

  • African Mami

    My name, my decision. If you feel less than, slighted, bitter, revengeful, emotional too bad! It is not going to be a topic of discussion. My name is VERY UNIQUE and will be kept as such…if he likes, adopt mine! End of discussion.

  • fuchsia

    Nope, it should be the woman’s decision. I don’t think it has anything to do with respect on the woman’s part, but I do think it has something to do with respect on the man’s part. If it’s important enough to be made a law then maybe their should be a separate proposal altogether for taking on a man’s last name as well.

  • TheBlackBelle

    ^^^^ YES! I have pride in my my name, much like a man. As much as I love playing the submissive role, I cannot completely ditch my name for his…hyphenate, as ugly as it looks to me, is still the best option.

  • Candy

    No, I don’t think it should be made legal. I think this is one of those things that if made legal, it would be for no good reason other than people thinking that others should do it for whatever reason, but any way you look at it, it is a completely personal matter, even if you don’t agree with a woman keeping her last name.

    If a woman taking her husband’s last name is a sign of them becoming one, why isn’t it more common for couples to combine/hyphenate their last names?

  • damidwif

    what i have noticed is that many women are open to keeping their names these days, however, the menfolk see it as though she is rejecting him…because, much as many dont want to admit it, marriage is still about ownership.

  • shelley

    Whether a woman chooses to take her husbands name or keep her own she is still styck with a man’s name. That being said, I will be staying with my dad’s name-also my own.

  • Isis

    No it shouldnt be legally required

  • E.M.S.

    It’s one thing to make the choice yourself, but it’s another entirely to make it a law. Yet again the government is poking its misogynistic nose into a private matter. I’m sorry but in my opinion legal marriage is already corrupted by government laws (making divorces a pain, the way you are taxed, the fact married couples get over 1000 benefits which devalues other committed relationships that do not involve marriage, they way it pressures people into getting married for fear that their commitment to one another is not “valid” etc.). This would just be one more corruption.

  • B

    E.M.S. and damidwif, you two hit the nail on the head! I can’t even believe someone wasted time and money to do a survey on this, just as much as I can’t believe the idiocy of the results they obtained. Smh. We really are a regressive country these days.

  •!/KMichelPress K. Michel

    This will never be made into a law. But, I will say that it’s disheartening to see so many Americans wishing to force women into that kind of position. I say, let the lady choose. If a dude isn’t feeling his fiancee’s decision about it, he can always take it into deep consideration to marry someone else.

  • http://clutch maxine

    If I want to keep my name…….I would remain single!!!……it’s not in the “name” two becoming of “one mind, heart and spirit in the “NAME”of Jesus the Christ…whose “name” we both will”share”

  • QON

    Im just reminded of an episode of The Simpsons where, to Lisa’s surprise, Marge admitted that not only had she taken her husband’s name but also took his DNA. LOL. Obviously it shouldnt and wont be made into law but I enthusiastically took my husband’s name.

  • Kaydee-P

    Hah! I love my name and how it suits ME. Hyphenated, that’s doable, but I wish I would give my rights over. Step your Jack White game up! He took his wife’s name, and kept it even after they divorced. Yet all I hear is crickets….

  • Kaptan Solo

    So…if you have children with your husband, they will automatically take his name? ..or no?

  • African Mami

    Good question. Both (mine and his)!

  • triumphantqueen

    Absolutley not!!! Women reserve the right to keep their last names after marriage. It gives them a sense of dignity and independence and does not make them feel as if they are now ‘owned’ by their husbands.

  • Kely

    My plan has always been to take my husband’s last name WITH THE ADDITION OF A HYPHEN. Simply as a tribute to my family as I do not have brothers. However, I’d expect that my children have my husband’s last name and not a hyphenated last name.

  • binks

    Interesting! Personally, like others I don’t think it should be legal because that is a personal choice but I can understand if some men feel some kind of way. Personally, I know who I’ am whether I keep my name or change it to my husband’s any way I look at it, it isn’t a serious issue for me. But for work purposes I think I might use my own name.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    that is for the couple to work out between them………

  • I`am not MAD

    OOh,I would write something BUT i just can`t stop laughing.
    NOT ever marred AND already looking for CONFLICT.LOL

  • SAA

    Yep seems to be there are so many high strung people walking around, if you need any evidence just check out most of the comments on these articles. Everything turns into a women’s rights issue and the words patriarchal/patriarchy and misogynist are thrown around as loosely as rice after a wedding. It is better to just laugh especially since so many of them claim to not want to marry at all. If you don’t want to marry then why is this even an issue worth devoting an ounce of energy towards?!

  • Arlice Nichole

    Britni, love this post! And, no, I don’t think a woman should be forced into a name change following marriage. She should do what feels comfortable to her. I opted for hyphenation. I think it’s a fair method. Plus, I always, always knew I was going to have a bunch of girls, so I think it sends a positive message to them that it’s OK to maintain some aspect of who you are. Mommy did.

  • Lana

    Exactly… I really don’t mind taking a man’s last name.. As long As I can keep my own as well.. Many men don’t have a problem with this, but if he’s insisting that I take his name and dump my own then we might have a problem…And that’s when it’s about ownership

  • Alexandra

    I think it should be a personal choice, however if you are married and plan to have children, I don’t really disagree. Why not have just one name (or hyphenated) to represent your family? If possible? If you don’t like your husbands name, then agree to choose your name. Nowadays if you don’t want to change it completely, you can always add your husbands name to yours. My sister did this, she kept our family name, and added her husbands name to hers. She now has a hyphenated surname. It’s not a big deal for me, esp since marriage is far from mind. If I do get married though, I would just hope my new surname sounds great with my first, or I’m keeping my birth surname. Lol :-D

  • justbeau

    me, hyphen, him. thats the best I can do. period.

  • jenna pearle

    based on the comments, its hard to believe 1/2 of americans feel this way. i like my husband’s last name (maybe even better than my own). however, when the time came, i couldn’t bring myself to change mine because it just seems odd to be called anything other than my name. perhaps i would have gotten use to it. just in case, i’ll be sticking to the name i already grew to love. hubby doesn’t really mind. not sure how that will affect our future children. we’ll see…

  • Compare&Contrast

    I don’t think it should be a legal requirement, but I would never marry a woman who wouldnt take my last name and my last name only. No hyphen.

  • The-Larry Wilson

    What would be the male equivalent to a woman not taking a man’s last name?

  • CaliDreaming86

    No, I do not agree.

  • mzb28

    What about your granddaughter? Will she be Jane Mother-Father-Husband? Or your great granddaughter? Will she be Jane grandmother-grandfather-mother-father-husband? Where do you draw the line? This is utterly ridiculous. No woman’s name is inherently her own… all are like dogs chasing your tails on this one!!!

  • African Mami


    Point is I decide! Not the government. My grand-daughter will decide for herself! My decisions are not generation permanent!

  • damidwif

    if you want to take it that far then no african american male’s name is inherently his own either….so maybe couples who marry should take an entirely different name if it is so damaging to you. how about shabazz? abdul?

    and what’s it to you about her children and great grandchildren? get off it, seriously

  • damidwif

    dear clutch, i dont know what is going on with your moderation, but i just saw one of the most horrible comments on this article. it appears to be gone now. please refer them to the angry men’s website where they can join their white bretheren

  • Dash

    Let’s be honest here Clutch, this post is misleading. Still I give you credit for starting a debate lol. We all know that half of Americans do NOT think a woman changing her last name should be federally enforced. How? Because I’m sure that none of us commenting, or the author of this post, was polled in this survey. So half of the Americans surveyed – whose identities we do not know, but I would assume are mostly men in general and married women who have already taken their husband’s names – think that this should be a requirement. And these are probably half of 2% of….Montana or something. However, the gov’t would never do this seriously and the fact that this is a topic of dscussion seems kinda cray cray….

    Honestly this is really odd to read – I mean are ppl really throwing shade on taking a man’s last name lol? Yes, marriage is foundationally a matter of ownership for men in many countries since women have fundamentaly been seen as a source of property, but that comes from a laundry list of sources that pushed the significance of property over the significance of partnership, whatever…society is mess and we know that.

    I don’t think it should be a law, but I don’t think name chaning is as self-deprecating as ppl commenting make it sound. Is taking a man’s last name that bad of thing?
    If you really want to keep your name than keep it, but don’t knock ppl who choose to take it or give ridiculous reasons for why you won’t take it. For instance, the woman in the link says she’s been her name for 27 years and will be her name for 28 years by the time she gets married so she won’t change it. Why? Because for 28 years she’ll have been her name….ummmm ok? If the amount of time is so significant, than I hope her marriage last less than 28 years otherwise her entire reasoning goes out the window. I would hope her marriage lasts a hop, skip and loooonnngg jump longer than Kim K’s did, but I don’t want her reasoning to be flawed so…#shrug

    And some ppl are throwing the “I am my own person!” argument to justify why changing names is such a tainted decision, but are you not your own person regardless of your name? If you really feel like taking a man’s name is that bad – to the point it will infringe upon your individual “person”hood – then maybe you should spend some more time doing “you”. Now if there was some weird clause saying that upon marrying women must set aside a kidney in case their husband to be ever needs one, then yes that would be an infrigement on your individual “person”hood and you could throw all the shade at marriage traditions that you wanted lol. But it’s not a kidney, it’s a name. Part of, if not the entire point, of marriage is that your life is shared in an initimate way, to the point that you are one flesh so honestly you’re not your own person anymore. It’s not to say you don’t have your own views, feelings, desires or beliefs, but your life is accountable to that man and vice versa. Yeah I get that it is your family’s name, your daddy’s name, but your husband is your family too. I’d take his name and want to know what else I’d take? His support, his finances, his burdens, his love, his “player” card, his honesty, his everything etc. People can scream marriage is ownership all they want, but regardless of whether I’m Mrs.(my name), Mrs.___-_____ or Mrs.(his name), I’m his wife.and as his wife I possess him as much as, if not more than, he possesses me. Plus all the things one would hope to get out of a marriage should be much more endearing and satisfying than a freakin’ name no matter which way you swing on the name divide.

    Like African Mami I have a very unique name. My mom is american and my dad is Ghanaian and it flows in a way that just works…and it just sounds odd with anything other than my dad’s name. Still I’d love to take my FH’s name, so i’m hoping one day I can. Though I accept that a hyphen might need to be there…darn lol

  • LemonNLime

    I’m keeping my last name but if (and only if) he had a cool last name would I hyphenate it. I wouldn’t even pursue a relationship with someone who felt I should have to take his last name. I’m against any law that takes away any choice that that effects solely my body.

    Side note when I was living in France this was a growing conversation. More French women were keeping their last name period and French men were annoyed by this fact. I honestly don’t get why so many men and some women seemed to be adamant about taking the man’s name.

  • damidwif

    @dash all that what you said, good gosh. either you think women are entitled to their own PERSONAL reasons for their name, or you don’t. i didnt really see anyone “throwing shade” but I did see you devaluing their reasons. people can do and think whatever they see fit for themselves regarding their names…same as they can for defining their relationships.

  • Kristie

    No way it should be a law. It’s ridiculous to the point of being surreal.

    That said, my children would definitely have my husband’s name.

    And I would probably take my husband’s name, but I would just use three legal names: My first name, my current maiden name, and then, my husband’s name. My maiden name is not going away.

    I would also definitely do what two of my friends did, which is, they gave their kid their maiden name as the kid’s middle name, which keeps that family name alive and kicking, and signifies it’s importance. They’re white, and apparently white people do this all the time, and I am going to appropriate that idea, because it rocks.

    But a law forcing a woman to take her husband’s name? NO WAY! Women should have the right to do whatever they want in terms of how they’re known after marriage.

  • Angie

    Hyphenation for me.

  • Kemba1248

    Why is that? How does that equate to the quality of the relationship if she chooses to keep her family name? I always wanted to get a male perspective.

    Personally, the name I was born with is the name I will die with. I don’t find it disrespectful to keep your given name but I find it harsh to force a woman to change her name. What sacrifice will you make to appease her if you are forcing her to do this for you?

  • Kemba1248

    I say be free to choose what name you will have. If your partner loves you he will understand whatever choice you make. It seems to me a man that forces a woman to take his name is a control freak. Of course they will say they are doing it because ” we are a family and this is the family name” or “think about our children” when in actuality they are concerned about looking like the head of the family and portraying that image.

  • LemonNLime

    @damidwif – Thank you! Just because she doesn’t agree someone reasoning doesn’t mean that it is stupid or unimportant. After 28 you build a lot of documents and things would all require changing and that can get expensive and tiresome.

    Personally I am tired of the all this business about women taking the husbands name. Why not switch it up and have him take hers?

  • LemonNLime

    Right! Anyone who supposed loves you so much to want to marry you but is pissed and doesn’t want to be with you because he can’t control what your name is, is probably not someone you want to be with anyway. At least not me. If he is controlling about that then what else? Or you could get a crazy like the man that commented above you!

  • Kemba1248

    … the black community is messed up with simple minded people such as yourself commenting on things that you shouldn’t. I hope some poor unsuspecting white woman scoops you up quick and do the rest of the black community a favor.

    I am sure that no black woman would want to take on your last name or the baggage that probably goes along with it…..

  • damidwif

    wow so now a black man can speak for black AND white men.

    gender roles? bah.

  • Dash

    @damidwif no i agree that it should be a personal decision. I didn’t mean to devalue the reasoning. I was just questioning why the reasons apply at all or need to be stated, though I’ll admit I was hatin’ on the 28 years thing because it made no sense to me. But @LemonNLime made a good point about it in a legal sense (though I didn’t take that as being what the girl was saying). Still I get that. My mother did keep my father’s last name when she got remarried because of legal hassle. I figure if if you want or don’t want something like a man’s last name, then you take or don’t take it. I’d just rather people say “I don’t want it b.c. I don’t want it”….rather than justify it with some bigger or greater reason. It’s okay to just not want a last name…

    @LemonNLime Some men do take their wife’s last names, but I think it requires a state mandated law to make it stick, which is probably why it won’t happen so often.

  • Dash

    It’s funny how the only thing What A Black Man Thinks seems to think about is what white men want….

  • damidwif

    @Dash consider this: Is a name really nothing? Traditionally, a man keeps his birth name. He is who is has been known as from birth to death. A woman, “takes” her husband’s, let’s say, to become one with him or whatever reason is given. She is now known as someone new–name unrecognizable to anyone who doesn’t know her personally/intimately (which I’m not saying is a bad thing).

    School/college data (think transcripts), medical data, financial data, driver’s license, SSN and more must be updated. Upon divorce and with that paperwork, she can keep her married name or go back to her maiden. If she makes the decision at a later date, she must petition and pay the court (again) for a name change. School, medical, financial etc…must be changed again. Yes, sure, she’s been the “same person” all this time. But has she really? A woman must reclaim or reinvent herself and this is a lot of work that ultimately serves to benefit….men.

  • African Mami

    @ WABMT

    Gender roles=Social construct

    A weak man to me is one like you with inferiority complexes beyond human comprehension! If I do NOT want to take your last name, instead of going off the logic tangent how about you ask why I am not interested-not that I am obligated to- I mean c’mon. Give us womenfolk a break!!!!

  • African Mami

    @ LNL

    CO-SIGN 100%!

  • Bitencourt

    “Is a name really nothing? ”

    Was the question i had while reading the comment made by Dash, i mean, i understand her answer, i respect, but I can not agree. If it was really nothing we would not be having this conversation, after all the meaning behind the act certainly has a history intertwined with the notion of possession. Of course this notion is not as evident as decades ago, but there are still traces of this in the act itself. I say this because if you think about, the prospect of the name change still falls on the woman. On the social context, and by extension, legal context, revolves around the woman accepting the husband’s name, an act that is the result of a social construction. So much so that few men are wondering whether or not to accept the wife’s name, the legal process itself makes it difficult for those who want.
    Don’t want to sound rude or anything, but i have a hard time accepting the dynamics of a marriage from the perspective of possession. I do not think the husband is the wife possession and vice versa, for me, this line of reasoning leads us to reduce the human being to the condition of object, and I do not agree with that.

  • Flash

    I think if a woman didn’t want to take a mans last name or not even hyphenate it in marriage, then that would be a problem, and men should question if this woman is for him.

    Its tradition, and if woman want to go against that, then men should ditch the tradition of paying for dates etc, sign for more pre-nups and petiton for having equal share of the children after marriage.

    If people want to abolish roles and go for equality then lets have equality straight down the line. Point blank period!

  • damidwif

    late. gawd where have u been?

    no need for prenup and whatever else though if man decides the woman isnt for him because she wont change her name…because, well, he wouldnt be marrying her

    and when men start equally taking care of kids in the marriage, then surely they can have “equal share” afterwards.

  • Flash

    Men do take care of their kids equally by providing a roof over their head and giving emotional stability amongst other things, i.e I don’t feel that my father did any less of job than my mother, so they should rightfully so have an option to equal share over parenting if divorce happens.

    And if a woman doesn’t want to take your last name OR even hyphenate it in marriage without giving a legit reason for example fame/professional reasons etc. And turns it into some stubborn feminist tip about whats mine is mine…and whats yours is yours, then I DO think men should start to question if this is the sort of woman that you want to spend the rest of your life with.

    Because if she has that mindset then down the road there WILL be bigger problems (if you haven’t faced it already) than just a name change…

  • Flash

    @damidwif – Men do take care of their kids equally by providing a roof over their head and giving emotional stability amongst other things, i.e I don’t feel that my father did any less of job than my mother, so they should rightfully so have an option to equal share over parenting if divorce happens.

    And if a woman doesn’t want to take your last name OR even hyphenate it in marriage without giving a legit reason for example fame/professional reasons etc. And turns it into some stubborn feminist tip about whats mine is mine…and whats yours is yours, then I DO think men should start to question if this is the sort of woman that you want to spend the rest of your life with.

    Because if she has that mindset then down the road there WILL be bigger problems (if you haven’t faced it already) than just a name change…

  • Flash

    Sorry wrong message posted above =)

  • damidwif

    i was speaking in general about men and their child caretaking and perhaps I shouldn’t have done that. surely, I didn’t know the situation in your house, nor how you define equal because i hardly consider putting a roof over someone’s head and emotional support equal to cooking, feeding, teaching, school issues, extracurricular, cleaning barf and shit and on and on and on and stuff like that equal. yeah, some fathers do it. but the truth is much more powerful. but anyone should have the option to share if that is what they agree to.

    the rest of what you say isn’t really worth my time. you either sound very young, and/or you have a problem with feminists and/or you have control issues. good luck.

  • Flash

    @damidwif -I wrote “AMONGST OTHER THINGS” at the end of my comment in regards to men looking after their kids so you are going off on your own little rant there, and regardless of what you write BOTH parents should have the option to claim equal parenting after a divorce.

    And to address the last part of your message statistically the majority of women EITHER take their husbands last name OR hyphenate it in marriage. Rarely does the wife keep her full maiden name without changing it, so I think it is YOU that have the problem. You replied to me anyway, so you need to get off your high horse!

  • LemonNLime

    “Some men do take their wife’s last names, but I think it requires a state mandated law to make it stick, which is probably why it won’t happen so often.”

    That is crazy! Who is the state to mandate what you change your name too? It is sad that a man can change his last name legally to 8-5 (not even correct Spanish mind you) but if a man wants to take his wife’s name it isn’t allowed in some places.

  • Kim

    Feel free to cross out all doctors or future doctors from your options. I don’t know a single married female doctor under the age of 35 whose last name is not hyphenated or isn’t just her maiden name. Try working your entire life for a degree only to be called Dr. “your husband’s family’s name” when you’ve finally achieved it. Like the article said it has more to do with career than anything else, but you seem like the type that would want a woman locked up in a house anyway…

  • Kemba1248

    If the woman takes the man’s last name to appease the man, what sacrifice is the man willing to make to appease the woman? If it’s give and take, what will he give??

  • Chica

    You know just because something’s a “tradition” doesn’t mean it’s right. I suggest you look at Bitencourt’s comment because she brings in some interesting points about the legal issues surrounding a name. I know my mother had to go through a myriad of obstacles just to change her last name after she divorced my abusive step father. With that said, taking a husband’s name is a PERSONAL choice. If that’s your prerogative then by all means go ahead. I don’t knock you for that at all. But understand that just because a majority of women do so, doesn’t mean that the minority of women who don’t take their husband’s last names are wrong. I suggest reading Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen or perhaps picking up a history book to see that majority rule isn’t always the right rule. And honestly, no need to bring in that tired argument about how if women want something to change then men don’t have to pay for dates blahblahblah. It’s getting tired. This not an equality issue. It’s a identity issue. Point blank period.

  • Flash

    What I find funny about these types of comments is that in reality its generally women the majority of times that are the ones who WANT to get married have the plush wedding and push for commitment, and sometimes bitch about it when this doesn’t happen etc…whereas men are just happy to just be…

    So I find it strange yet amusing when I see women commenting “well what sacrifice ya gonna do for me if we get married???” I not sure what type of women you lot are, but if you don’t want to follow or don’t like some of the traditions and customs of what marriage entail then just don’t get hitched, no problem, no ones putting a gun to your head.

    But to answer you question men make a big financial sacrifice and have great responsibility to their future/current family when taking those vows, if it doesn’t work out men have to pay Alimony/child support, give up half their assets/money, the martial home, and become a part-time Dad etc. If a woman is going to squabble over taking your last name OR NOT even hyphenate it without a valid reason and sees it as doing you a favour…then fellas ask yourself is this marriage to this particular woman worth it??

    If women don’t want to follow traditions, then why should men??For example I have yet to see mass protests from women over men paying for dates hmmmm…….

  • Mrenee

    When I was young and got married I took my husband’s name. Even after I was divorced I kept his name because I didn’t want to have a different name from my children. I didn’t want to have to explain who I was to them when I went to the school or was involved in their activities. Keeping it also had nothing to do with him, the name was now who I was after 15 years. No one knew me by my maiden name after divorcing.

    Now considering if I should get married again, I would prefer (I said prefer, not written in stone) to keep my ex-husband’s name (I still want my connection to my children, grown as they are) and hyphenate it to the new husband’s name, I know he may not like it, but after 25 years of having that name, that is who I am.

    I believe a woman should truly think about her identity, who she is, her connection to her husband she wants to proclaim, and the connection to the children they will bring into the world when it comes to whether she should keep her maiden name or change it. No one has that right to make that decision but her.

  • Akuba T

    I understand the connection aspect, but if a parent is truly nurturing to their child, their bond will not be based off them having similar last names. My mother changed her last name when she married my Ghanian father and it was actually her having an American first name and me having an African first name which caused people to have questions and for me to be aware of my cultural differences to my mother. What’s in a name? A lot when it comes to identity, but nothing when it comes to love and emotional support.

  • Mrenee

    Truly nuturing? As a single mother raising 3 children alone how could one not be nuturing? I was all they had.

  • Van

    I don’t remember being polled.

  • Tricia

    I see nothing wrong with the hyphen. Mrs. _____ – ________. Once you’ve discussed it and your husband has no issue. Then go on ahead. However I believe most men know that the reason for the hypen is if you all should get divorced, it will be easier for the divorcee to get her maiden name!!! Is that being presumptuous?

  • Sydney

    Do not feed the troll… -__-

  • X

    Obviously if she has a problem with that. Then she is not worth marrying.

  • Debra

    Mt fiance now my husband asked me in a very nice democratic way so with much consideration over the name being incorrectly spelled and pronounced I decided to take my husbands name. I would never marry a man(hope I never do it again) if I was not given the option. To me he expressed a respect for my past a memory that I will never ever forget. Also one of the reasons I am still with him: his amount of respect just like my father.

  • secret ninja

    @Dash – i guess we’re the few in minority because i agree with everything you said. everything.

  • AI

    @ Flash.

    People who are against taking the name seem to be pointing to the lack of balance it presents in a relationship. Most women want to come into a relationship knowing they are equals with their husband and that he respects her as an individual. Women’s last name and title change to show that she has taken a husband; in turn, she is turning away from a part of her history in a way that we do not ask men to do. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but you seem to be an intelligent person; surely, you would be able to understand how that might be difficult for some women. Hyphenation is a good compromise, but just bc she feels this way abt smthg that represents a key part of her identity, doesn’t mean she is incapable of functioning well in a marriage relationship.

  • AI

    And by the way, I am married and I did take my husband’s name.

  • Pilot

    My ex took my last name when we married, and she still uses it because that’s the name she had for 23 years of marriage, and now it’s her professional name that is known by others, so it is a practical consideration. At the time we got married, she went back and forth with herself about which name to use, since she is of a decidedly feminist point of view. I told her it really didn’t matter to me.

    If I marry again, and that probably is going to happen, it still doesn’t matter to me. My fiance can do whatever suits her best. I think she will probably take my name, but only because she has a very strange last name and she doesn’t like it too much, so again, it will be a practical decision from her perspective.

    The only thing I would be insistent upon if I were a young husband is that any children from the marriage all have a single last name and all have the same last name.

    In terms of the question posed by the author of the post, that is, should it be legally required for a woman to take her husband’s last name, the idea is ludicrous. Women, like men, should not be legally required to change their name when they get married. They should enjoy that legal OPTION, as they do currently, but a name change should not be required.

    I mean, c’mon, this is the 21st Century – it’s hard for me to believe that this is even being discussed with any sort of seriousness.

  • Samantha

    I’m hyphenating for legal purposes though I’ll use my husband’s name socially and for mail just to make it easier, but professionally I’m keeping my maiden name. Plus, I’m one of 3 daughters and I want my father’s name to go on. Any guy who can’t handle that can kick rocks. He’s not the one for me anyway.

  • Dave

    I’m a young man, and I have nothing against my future wife keeping her maiden name, I’m completely cool with that. Or taking my name, I’m cool with that. But I feel real different about the whole hyphenated name thing. To me that just looks lame and stupid, a weak attempt to straddle the middle and appease both sides, but ultimately it satisfies no one. Those names with the two last names with a hyphen in the middle just look dumb as far as I’m concerned. Just my opinion. Pick one side or the other! Keep your name or take his name, make a decision.

  • Simone


    I agree, choose a side.

  • Islandista

    Nope. I’m married and I’ve kept my maiden name.
    Because of my profession (print journalist), my name is my professional brand – it’s the name under which I’ve been published for nearly 15 years,and had some significant accomplishments. It means something, it’s recognised and to change my name would be like starting over – I’d have to explain who I was on every resume, every call I made to contacts and I would pretty much disappear in the news pages.

    I’ve seen it happen to other female print journos who changed their name and even though they were still writing, months and years later, people were still asking “but whatever happened to X? I don’t see her writing anymore.”

    My husband understands all that and is totally cool with my keeping my name – he wasn’t at first but he became sold after he’s done some name-dropping and realised all I said was true! lol

    As it so happens, my maiden name was already double-barreled (mother and father) so sometimes it has created confusion with people presuming to call me Mrs.’2nd of my two last names’.

    But ah well… what are you gonna do?

  • Stephanie

    Half of Americans are idiots. The choice is personal and should remain that way.

  • Claire

    I gave in and am changing mine, I was completely against it but it was either that or he’d end the marriage…I figured I got married after never wanting to might as well give up on this fight too…I love my husband and didn’t want to lose him.

  • Claire

    That’s exactly what my husband said.

  • Alex Tee

    Oh Claire, I’m sorry your husband is such a dick.

  • Alex Tee

    There have been studies ( that show that over 50% of men who petition for primary or joint custody for their children were successful. I’m not seeing the inequality here.

  • Caro

    Hell no, I don’t. I believe every woman is perfectly entitled and able to decide whether she wants to change her name to her husband’s after marriage or not. The way I see it, both options are perfectly respectable.

  • Angel

    Really???? And pray tell why do I have to change my already rare spelled last name?

  • Tetra

    Fuck no. I don’t share my last name with anyone in my family because I got it changed when I turned 18. I will NOT change it when I get married and any kids I have will have mine as well.

  • Tetra

    You do realize there are countries where hyphenated names is the norm, right? You’ve got some thinly veiled racism going on there bud.

  • Tetra

    Um…. it’s already easy to do that. She can just fill out some papers and be done with it…

  • Tetra

    Little girls are taught to desire marriage from a very young age. We’re taught that what we should want most is marriage and babies.

  • Tetra

    Oh ew, I wouldn’t have married him.

  • Tetra

    Unless her surname is NOT her fathers.

  • halfpurewatcher

    I want women to be able to choose to keep their or their spouse’s last name. I’d love to say I want to keep mine, but then I remember how much of an asshole my father and his family is (my mom took his last name)
    Damn it.

  • C Sutherland

    Doesn’t sound like a person worth marrying, if they felt so threatened by you not wanting to change your name,

  • suns

    Then why not make him take your name, if having one shared name is the only important thing?

  • Malle

    I loved the first bit. And then you kind screwed yourself over. Shame.

  • Dani

    Why should half of America get a say in what MY name is? Does it belong to them? Nope. I have a really common last name and everyone assumes I’m related to every other person they know with that name, but I don’t even care. I love my name, I love the family it came from, and our history. If I ever get married, I’m keeping it.

  • Dani

    Traditions are habits, not laws. Who says I have to follow them?
    And omg, is paying for a dinner that big of a drain on you? I pay for my bf all the time, or we take turns. It’s not a big deal.

  • Ky

    Legally required? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I am not cattle. I am not a possession. And I will not be ~given away~ like I’m not a person on my own, unless my husband gets given away by his mother!

  • Amelia

    no, my mother didn’t change her name and I don’t see any logical argument as for why a women should have to. I have both of my parents names, non hyphenated, and do intend to change mine when the time comes because for me, it will be simpler.

  • Amanda Rudolph

    fuck no, the end

  • Amanda Rudolph

    I want to keep my name now just to spite the assholes that say otherwise

  • Andie

    I think women should be able to do whatever we want. We should be able to have autonomy over ourselves like basically every single man in this “free” nation.

  • Dipshit Davey-poo

    Cool story bro. I have a solution. All men will be legally required to take their wife’s last name.

    Bam. Solved.

  • Sarah

    My family sharing one name feels right to me, but where that name comes from doesn’t matter. Personally, I got teased for my surname in school, and my fiancé has a really nice surname, so we’ll be using his. If something else works for another family? None of my business – if it works for them. if they build their family identity on something other than a word (like love) and hopefully educate their kids on why they made that choice – and that it is a choice – power to them.
    In terms of geneology and ease of tracing ancestry, it makes sense to keep names consistent – but with technology these days, it will never be as hard again to track parenting by surname – whether surname was a mothers or a fathers.
    I dont like women taking their husbands name being the default option, because of its origins in women being viewed as property. I dont want my daughter to feel obliged to give up a part of her identity when she marries. I want her to know she has a choice, to find what works for her and her partner.

  • Lee

    Lol wow… I guess two women getting married would knock their argument into a tail spin.

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